The Royal Family just welcomed Meghan Markle into the fold on May 19, and with that the new Duchess of Sussex has officially become a key player in the Royal Foundation. No stranger to social activism, Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have made room for one more in their various charitable initiatives, many of which have mental health at their core. Lorraine Heggesseytook on the incredible task of being the foundation’s CEO last year and has worked closely with the ‘Fab Four’ to make a difference with their royal roles, including the organization’s newest patron. “She’s extremely articulate [and] she presents very confidently,” the 61-year-old told Hello! Canada on Wednesday (May 23) while in Toronto to speak at the CAMH Difference Makers Symposium .
Only a few short months after announcing their engagement, Meghan dove into her first official outing with her future husband, Prince William and Kate for the inaugural Royal Foundation Forum , where she discussed Time’s Up and #MeToo and expressed her excitement over joining the group. “Her passion for charity work is very evident and it’s not something that’s new to her; she’s done it before,” Lorraine shared. “She’s extremely articulate [and] she presents very confidently … I think she’s going to want to make an impact.”
And she’s got a solid partner in crime! The royal wedding represents a lot more than the beautiful culmination of Prince Harry and Meghan’s fairy tale romance. It’s a union of values, of which the two have many in common. “I think [she] and Prince Harry really think very similarly on a range of issues, so I think they will have impact just as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are having huge impact in their areas,” she revealed, adding that the four royals are very keen to roll up their sleeves, no matter the issue. “What the public sees really is the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot of private work that goes on behind that.”
When you’re passionate about the matters at hand, it’s easy to give it your all. “Mental health is a very important theme for us at the Royal Foundation,” Lorraine said. “It’s something that matters hugely to our principles, to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.” With mental health at the forefront, Harry, Kate, William and now Meghan are all able to branch off into sectors that need attention. “Prince Harry is focusing on veterans and people currently serving in the armed forces. The Duke is very much focus on both cyber bullying and workplace mental health. The Duchess is focused on [in-school] mental health and also now maternal mental health,” Lorraine elaborated, adding that they all have an incredible ability to connect with people. “They want to bring about social change; they want to change mindsets and they are devoting a lot of time and effort to individual areas over a number of years to try and achieve those goals.”
Lorraine comes from a journalism background and, among other accomplishments, was the first female Controller of BBC One. And while her work experience is vast and impressive, joining forces with royalty wasn’t something she had ever done. “I didn’t go around and hang out with the Royal Family before this! Going on visits with them is amazing, when you see the impact they have on the ground [and] the real empathy they have,” she gushed. “Now, the highlight has to be going to the wedding on Saturday. It was very special; it was wonderful in every way.”